Real Leos ready to play

BOB MACKIN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:27 AM ET

The B.C. Lions make their 2009 Canadian Football League debut at home tonight against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in B.C. Place Stadium (7:30 p.m.).

Head coach and general manager Wally Buono pledges a better effort than last week's season opener.

"Friday night you'll see what you actually get," Buono said. "The best way to show that you were embarrassed or that maybe you were humiliated a little bit is by what you do Friday night."

B.C. fell 28-24 to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Regina. Quarterback Buck Pierce was sacked nine times.

The Ticats had extra time to lick their wounds after a 30-17 Canada Day loss to the Toronto Argonauts.

Hamilton has not won under the big top since 1997. Ticats.ca proudly proclaims the squad as 15-time Grey Cup champions, but the Steeltowners are running out of time to claim a trophy this decade. The Lions outscored the Ticats 75-22 in their two 2008 meetings.

Watch the Hamilton linebacking trio of ex-Lions Jamall Johnson, Otis Floyd and Markeith Knowlton. They're making their first appearance at B.C. Place Stadium as opponents. Johnson is back north of the border because Ti-Cats' general manager Bob O'Billovich signed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' trialist for head coach Marcel Bellefeuille.

Tonight is slotback Paris Jackson's 100th game. Linebacker Javier Glatt reached the century mark in the season opener when he was among the few bright Leo lights with seven tackles and an interception. Defensive back Ryan Phillips had two interceptions, which was double his 2008 total.

Ian Smart was smarting after suffering a groin pull in Regina. He is poised to miss the first game in his 16 years of playing football. CFL rookie Martell Mallett will be the featured running back with newcomer Tyler Ebell, an ex-Edmonton Eskimo and Toronto Argonaut, backing him up.


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